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Biden administration announces oil and asset seizures to fight Iran’s Revolutionary Guard

by

Daily Caller News Foundation

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday announced a series of measures to combat the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for its efforts to fund terrorism and evade existing U.S. sanctions.

The IRGC, a military organization part of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s state apparatus, was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in April of 2019 by the Trump administration. In response to the IRGC’s efforts to sell oil, Iran’s largest export, in unofficial markets to raise funds for supporting other FTOs, the Biden administration announcedthat it had seized $108 million belonging to several IRGC-linked operatives and 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil.

“Iran utilizes the proceeds of its black-market oil sales to fund its criminal activities, including its support of the IRGC, Hamas, Hizballah, and other Iranian-aligned terrorist groups,” wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland in the announcement of the seizures. “In addition to disrupting Iran’s unlawful funding streams, the Justice Department has also charged nine individuals for their roles in supporting Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.”

The nine individuals mentioned by Garland include seven foreign nationals — one IRGC leader along with three Iranian citizens and three Turkish citizens — indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for terrorism, sanctions evasion, fraud and money laundering for allegedly attempting to launder funds from oil sales through U.S. financial institutions. Two other foreign nationals — a Chinese citizen and Omani citizen — were indicted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for sanctions evasion after allegedly selling oil to a Chinese refinery using loans procured from U.S. companies.

Chinese entities have reportedly played a significant role in helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, helping the country generate about $80 billion in sales during the Biden administration.

“While Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Qods Force are the regime’s terrorist strongarms, oil is its lifeblood,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco in the announcement.

Iran, a longstanding rival of the United States in the Middle East, has become the focus of much outrage after three U.S. Army personnel deployed to Jordan were killed in an airstrike by a drone launched by Iran-backed militias. Several U.S. elected officials have called for a military response to Iran in retaliation.

“Hit Iran now. Hit them hard,” wrote Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Twitter, now known as X, on Sunday. Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, meanwhile, called for the United States to “[t]arget Tehran.”

Their position has been criticized by other conservatives in the United States for being escalatory. Conservative commentator Tucker Carlson responded by calling Graham and Cornyn “fucking lunatics.”

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation